Name: Noel Quintero
Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Start Weight: 417 pounds
End Weight: 250 pounds
Time Cycling: 3 years
There was a competition in my office modeled after The Biggest Loser. Without me even knowing about it, my supervisor signed me up. At least 40 to 50 employees—all men—participated in that competition, and I was the youngest and the second heaviest at 417 pounds. At first, I felt extremely self-conscious, but I gave it a shot anyway.
My only goal was to lose 20 pounds. I wanted to start cycling, but I was too heavy for the bikes that were sold in my area. So I started by walking 15 minutes a day, and built up from there until I was able to walk two miles every day. I remember some nights not being able to sleep because I was too sore.
I managed to start jogging a bit, and was actively involved in fun runs, 5Ks, and 10Ks for a while. But as soon as I started cycling around the end of 2012, I stopped jogging. Then I got into swimming in order to build up my core—an important addition, since climbing hills was starting to make my back sore.
Over an eight-month period, I managed to lose 80 pounds, which was enough to win the office competition.
It took me a while to get really into cycling, though. It finally happened in 2015, when I joined my local cycling club. Right now, I am part of several cycling clubs Puerto Rico.
Thanks to the running clubs, I have gone from struggling with any endurance activities to riding 27,000 miles over the last three years. I did my first gran fondo in 2017 at the GFNY NYC Championship, and I completed another in Portugal this year. I’m already signed up for three more in 2019. I am more interested in climbing these days, so I want less miles and more climbing.
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Cycling also helped me in more than just my weight loss journey. I had been a smoker for 15 years. When I started cycling, the sport helped me quit cold turkey. If I don’t ride my bike for one to two weeks, I instantly get an urge to smoke.
I also suffered from depression and anxiety, and cycling helped me channel my thoughts in a productive way. Cycling is my great stress reliever; I especially love the connection it gives me with nature.
The key is to stay focused and be self-motivated. It could be a long process, so you can’t expect quick results. Perseverance and making a routine are essential. In order to begin a weight-loss journey, you must be self-motivated and committed to making a lifestyle change. Just look at me. I lost more than 150 pounds. It wasn’t easy, but cycling ended up saving my life, every aspect of it.
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This content was originally published here.